A cracker blast killed one person and injured four others in north Delhi's Naya Bazar area on Tuesday setting off panic among the people in the wake of high alert in the city, even as police ruled out any terror angle in it.
The explosion took place around 10.40am when Motalip Mirza, a labourer, was carrying two large packets of crackers.
A CCTV footage of the incident shows that the blast occurred as Mirza put the bags in front of a shop, Saraswati Traders in the Pattewali Gali, police said.
"The cracker blast took place due to high pressure and the huge quantity of crackers. Mirza died in the explosion while four others were injured," said a senior police officer.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is in Bahrain, called Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma to take stock of the situation in the national capital, which is on high alert due to the festive season.
He instructed Verma to take all possible measures to ensure peace in the city.
Several specialised teams of Delhi Police, including forensics, officers from the Special Cell and the SWAT teams, swooped down on the area after the blast to ascertain if there was any terror angle in it.
However, on the basis of preliminary investigation they have ruled out any terror angle.
SBK Singh, special commissioner of police (Law and Order) North, tweeted, "Cracker blast took place in Lahori Gate area when a labour Motalip Mirza was carrying two bags of crackers. Handle crackers carefully."
Mirza was a resident of Murshidabad in West Bengal and was working as a labourer in Delhi for last 15-20 years.
"He had collected the bags from Gali Zakaria Mohalla Fatak Hawas Khana in Lahori Gate. Several bags with similar materials have been found at the address," the officer said.
The injured have been identified as Bhupendra Gupta, Mahesh, Hawa Singh and Murari.
The impact of the explosion shook the buildings and shops nearby. The window panes, fans and other items in the shops were broken.
Police said 60-year-old Mirza's family lives in Murshidabad but nobody has come to claim the body till now.
The owner of the shop where Mirza was employed is absconding, they said.
Injured Bhupendra Gupta, a rice trader, is undergoing treatment at Fortis Hospital.
One of Gupta's employees said, "It is by God's grace that our lives are saved. Our owner was sitting downstairs and we were sitting on the terrace when we heard the noise. We immediately rushed downstairs since we felt that the building would collapse as it was shaking."
Shopkeepers also claimed the blast was caused due to explosives and was intended to create panic in the market.
"As soon as the explosion happened, all the buildings were shaking as if an earthquake had struck. If it would have been just crackers, the impact wouldn't have been this bad.
"The window panes that are quite thick were broken and buildings have developed cracks. Had the bombs been more intensive, the buildings would have collapsed killing more people," said a rice trader RC Mishra.
Some of the traders claimed the number of injured people was more than the numbers given by the police.
"Many of the helpers who were there in the shops sustained injuries due to the pieces of glass and stones that flew due to the impact of the blast," said a trader.
Traders felt there was not much loss of life in the blast since there were not many people in the market.
"Had the explosion took place around 11-11.30am more people would have been killed. The lane is usually cramped with carts and trolleys carrying stuff and customers after 11 am," said Ramesh, another trader.